Chapter 380: I’m Hungry
Bai Xiaochun’s shout provoked no response from within the hall. Master God-Diviner and the others exchanged awkward glances. As for Bai Xiaochun, he was extremely displeased. After all, he was an important political hostage, a status that he felt should come with at least some level of respect.
“Right guys?!” he said, looking over angrily at Big Fatty Zhang and the others. “Come on, I’m an important political hostage!”
Big Fatty Zhang cleared his throat and looked left and right, but didn’t say anything.
“Ah well, whatever. I guess this hostage will just have to rough it out. Alright guys, what should we do now?” Sighing, he looked over at Master God-Diviner.
“Um,” Master God-Diviner began cautiously, “well… maybe we should check things out first before making any decisions.” Xu Baocai and Big Fatty Zhang seemed to agree with him. Chen Manyao didn’t say anything, and Gongsun Wan’er simply stood there with a slight smile on her face. As for Song Que, he looked just as grim as always, and didn’t seem interested at all in even looking at Bai Xiaochun.
Bai Xiaochun looked around at everyone, and felt a headache coming on. He was already starting to regret bringing all these people with him. However, he couldn’t change the situation now. Therefore, he decided to do just as Master God-Diviner had suggested, and began walking down the street in the city.
As he went along, he slowly forgot about his mistreatment from before. Soon, he began to gasp and let out exclamations of shock. He wasn’t the only one to react in such a way; the others were similarly astonished by the things they saw.
After all, they were at the source of the entire eastern Heavenspan River, and this city had an enormous population. Most of the people in the city were disciples of the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect, but others were from various families and clans that had lived in the city for generations.
One of the strangest things that Bai Xiaochun realized was that he hadn’t seen a single overweight person in the city so far. Everyone was skinny to the point of being gaunt. Some of them even looked like little more than skin and bones. Furthermore, everyone always seemed to be rushing about, as if they didn’t want to waste even a bit of time. Another strange thing was that none of them revealed even the tiniest sliver of their cultivation base. Bai Xiaochun was a Gold Core cultivator, so he was able to pick up some clues here and there. However, most other cultivators would look around and see people who looked like nothing more than mortals.
Suppressing his curiosity about that, Bai Xiaochun focused on all the things that were for sale in the city. Just about anything could be bought, from spirit treasures to magical items to ancient books. There were all sorts of medicinal pills as well.
There was spirit food available, some of which was made from precious materials of heaven and earth. Other spirit foods were the meats of different types of wild beasts. The prices for the spirit foods were astronomical, and yet to the surprise of Bai Xiaochun and his companions, people still would buy them, although it always seemed to be with some level of reluctance.
Bai Xiaochun had never seen such a bustling city before, nor had any of his companions. Thus, they took their time strolling through the city, slowly taking in all the sights and sounds.
As time passed, they were convinced of one thing… prices in the city were simply beyond belief. Thankfully, Bai Xiaochun had been given a sizeable sum of spirit stones back in the River-Defying Sect, but even with what he had, it only took a quick calculation on his part to come to the conclusion that he didn’t have enough to buy any of the things he really wanted.
After a few hours of wandering the city, the entire group came to another shocking realization: for some reason, all of them were very hungry!
This development caused their eyes to grow wide. After all, once cultivators reached Foundation Establishment, they didn’t need to consume physical food. Instead, they subsided on spiritual energy alone.
But as of this moment… a sensation of profound hunger had risen up within all of them.
“What’s going on…? I’m… I’m hungry!” Bai Xiaochun rubbed his belly and then looked over at Chen Manyao with a confused expression on his face.
Chen Manyao was also clearly taken aback. After a moment of thought, she pulled out a jade slip which she used to send a message to someone. After a moment, an odd expression appeared on her face. Looking around at her companions, she hesitated, then said, “Did any of you notice… that your cultivation bases have progressed already?”
Everyone quickly checked their cultivation bases, and sure enough, it was just as Chen Manyao had said. They hadn’t experienced huge advancements, but the evidence was there; they had just been so entranced by the bustling city that they hadn’t noticed.
Chen Manyao went on to explain, “Considering how close we are to the Heavenspan Sea, the spiritual energy is especially strong, and after entering our bodies, it throws our five yin organs into chaos. Although it causes our cultivation bases to advance more quickly, it’s also very draining on us…. That’s why we’re feeling hungry. Essentially… the energy drain is so severe that we can’t sustain our cultivation without eating normal food.”
Even as Chen Manyao explained the situation, Bai Xiaochun’s stomach began to grumble loudly.
When she finished speaking, his face fell. Other than death, the thing he feared most in life was hunger. Back on Fragrant Cloud Peak when he had begun to practice the Undying Live Forever Technique, he had almost starved to death. After reaching Foundation Establishment, he had never felt the pangs of hunger, but now, here they were rising up again.
Chen Manyao smiled bitterly and said, “Furthermore, I just asked… a friend of mine, and was told that everyone in the city has to eat a huge amount of food every day to replenish their energy. Also, it has to be spirit food.”
Big Fatty Zhang was already starting to get very nervous. Just like Bai Xiaochun, he feared hunger as if it were the shadow of death. “So… so does that mean we have to be eating constantly?”
“Once you become a yellow-robed disciple and get into the rainbow district, then the aura there will aid in your absorption of spiritual energy, and the problem will resolve itself naturally.” Chen Manyao’s brow was also furrowed because of the sensation of hunger she felt.
Gongsun Wan’er rubbed her belly, licked her lips, and then chuckled. “Well then, I think I’ll go get something to eat. See you all later.”
With that, she waved at them and melted into the crowd.
“Junior Patriarch, what do we do…?” Master God-Diviner said, looking at Bai Xiaochun. “I’m hungry too….”
Xu Baocai had the same reaction, and even grim-faced Song Que finally turned to look expectantly at Bai Xiaochun.
Rubbing his bag of holding anxiously, Bai Xiaochun gritted his teeth and said, “Let’s just suck it up for now. We need to find a place to stay first, then we can worry about how to get something to eat.”
The others agreed that it was a good idea. All of them produced some medicinal pills to temporarily relieve their hunger, and then began searching through the city for a place to stay.
Soon, they found the location where Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect disciples could get immortal’s caves, which was when Bai Xiaochun learned that all the immortal’s caves were rented out, not sold. After looking over the rent prices, Bai Xiaochun couldn’t help but gasp.
“This… this is way too expensive!”
The cultivator in charge was an orange-robed disciple, and all he did was look at Bai Xiaochun coldly, refusing to even say a word.
It was soon apparent from the incredible prices that only very wealthy people could afford immortal’s caves here. Ordinary people had to settle for spirit abodes. Of course, the prices for spirit abodes were also very high.
Since they had few options available, Bai Xiaochun and his companions agreed to rent the cheapest spirit abode they could find. By the time they acquired the jade slip key and found the spirit abode in the city, it was starting to get dark outside.
It was located in the city’s east district, and was very simple and crude. It actually reminded Bai Xiaochun of his residence back in the village when he was young. Furthermore, to his agony, renting it for half a year cost him half of the spirit stones he’d been given by the sect.
A whole day had been wasted already, and all of them were getting increasingly hungry. By this point, all of their stomachs were grumbling loudly. Sighing, Bai Xiaochun tossed the bag of spirit stones over to Master God-Diviner and told him to go find some food.
Master God-Diviner excitedly caught the bag of holding and then rushed out, to return shortly with a large collection of spirit food which he divided out equally. Now that they had food, everyone sat around silently eating, wrapped up in their own thoughts.
As for Bai Xiaochun, he couldn’t stop thinking about how much he missed the River-Defying Sect.
The night passed silently. The next day at dawn… Bai Xiaochun was awoken by the sound of his own grumbling stomach. Looking around at everyone else, he could tell that they already looked a bit skinnier than they had the day before.
“Dammit! What wickedness is this? How are we supposed to deal with this?!” It was a terrifying situation; he was so hungry he could hardly see straight. Producing more spirit stones, he asked Master God-Diviner to go out again to buy spirit food.
And that was how the first day passed. Then a second day went by, and a third, and a fourth….
During that time, everyone from the group went out to explore the city at some point, but would return frowning and the settle down cross-legged and unmoving, not willing to waste any energy.
Despite trying to save energy, all of them, Bai Xiaochun included, were started to get much thinner. That was especially true of Xu Baocai, who was already at the point of looking like skin and bones.
However, none of that was truly frightening. What scared them the most was that the bag of holding was on the verge of running out of spirit stones, most likely within two days…. Even Bai Xiaochun’s personal bag of holding was almost ninety percent devoid of spirit stones.
“We have to think of a plan!” he said passionately, looking around at everyone with a serious look on his face. “Going on like this won’t work. You guys are my Dao protectors! Go out and make some money!”
Almost as soon as the words left his mouth, Song Que rose to his feet, a look of determination flickering in his eyes, as well as a bit of madness. Bai Xiaochun looked at him curiously, and was just about to ask what he was going to do when Song Que blurted, “I’ve had enough of this!!
“Enough, do you hear me Bai Xiaochun? Dao protector? Forget it, I quit! Song Que can solve his own problems for himself. From now on, you’re on your own! It all comes down to the merit points, right? Maybe I wasn’t a match for you in the Blood Stream Sect, or in the River-Defying Sect, but here in the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect, I’m going to become a yellow-robed disciple on my own merit, and get promoted to the rainbow district!”
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes widened angrily, and he was just about to offer a retort, when suddenly Master God-Diviner rose to his feet….
Translator: Deathblade. Chinese language consultant: ASI a.k.a. Beerblade. Editor: GNE. Memes: Logan. Tocsin. Transcendent Patrons: Daoist Elder N, BLE, ttre208. . .